What's the first thing you think of when you see pleasure?
What brought you pleasure today?
Is there something about this particular moment, hour, minute, second that's pleasurable?
What pleasure practices do you make sure you incorporate in your daily living?
adrienne maree brown's Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good will awaken questions like these within you. She will invite you to meditate on whether it's possible to live a life infused with pleasure all the time; and if many of our days are not filled with pleasure, can we reflect on that? Ask ourselves why that is, and what steps do we need to take to connect to more pleasure?
My experience of connecting to pleasure tends to be simple. Or, maybe it's complex, especially when we're just starting to engage in practices around s l o w i n g d o w n. If we have the capacity, breathing deeply, pausing at the top for some seconds, and fully letting go, letting the body fully relax. That can be it. That can be pleasurable.
As Lama Rod Owens says -- resting in the s p a c e during the pause, noticing what that spaciousness does to your body, your mind, your spirit, letting the breath breathe you. I love that. Letting go of control. Letting whatever's holding you to fully hold you -- the chair, the ground, the earth. Noticing what it's like to be held.
This slowing down can happen constantly throughout the day, as we shower, as we brush our teeth, as we put lotion on our bodies, as we make tea, as we cook, as we eat, as we sit next to a loved one, hold their hand and look deeply in their eyes, as if it's the first time.
If we're lucky enough to be able to reflect on what pleasure means to us and we're able to tap into it, we can then find ways to see if we need/want to and can assist others to connect to pleasure through practices around generosity -- giving others our time, teaching others how to slow down and savor every moment, teaching others, as Lama Rod does, to bear witness to the pain we carry -- the grief, the trauma, the fear, the anger -- and to notice that around that pain, as we breathe deeply, there's space, and within that space, there's love, there's care, there's kindness, there's pleasure.
Love is always here, wanting to be seen, wanting to hold us. Love is pleasure. And we can connect to that love when we think about our bodies working hard to keep us functioning, or we think about the earth always being under our bodies, or we think about a moment where someone said I see you. I wish I could take away your pain. How can I better bear witness to you? How can I better hold you? How can I better love you?
Some affirmations from adrienne maree brown --
I am worthy of defining desire.
I am worthy of defining pleasure and liberation for myself and my community.
I am worthy of defining my destinies, and creating those destinies. Everyday.
And, some incredible questions of hers to keep reflecting on -- Is it a pleasure to be with each other? Does the agenda or space allow for aliveness, connection, joy? Is there a YES at the center of our work, or at the center of every moment?
Her book is truly transformative. I hope you come across more of her words on your journey. She inspires. I'll leave you with a poem of hers.
You are enough. You are here and I am grateful.